Roy’s personal guitar gallery was quite extensive. Besides his signature axe, his trademark ’53 Tele Roy did in fact own and record with many other guitars. His first 5 lp’s on POLYDOR saw incomparible imagination on both his ’54 and ’55 telecasters. His acoustic work on these albums featured majestic style and skill coming forth from his Martin D-28. Roy’s years at Atlantic saw a burning blurr of notes from beyond the stratosphere coming out of his Les Paul; and another sample of his soft passion eminating from his Martin D-35.
Roy’s next label, Waterhouse actually released 2 lp’s – The first of which was released in November of 1980 as a limited run for radio promotion and featured alternate takes from the “My Babe” album, along with an interview recorded with Roy in the studio of KQRS of Minneapolis. Both of these Waterhouse lp’s had the elements of intensity and simplicity coexisting with pure virtuosity. The occasional axe of source was the Stratocaster that Roy toured with during the early 80’s.
Around 1985/86 two different stories exist about Roy not being satisfied with a guitar:
In 1986 Roy started using a Guild:
Roy visited the Guild factory sometime around New Year’s Day, 1986 and selected a Guild Nightbird from the instruments they had there. Roy may have then discussed the development of the T-200 with Guild. The T-200 is a fancy version of a rosewood board Telecaster.
The guitar was then replaced by the T-250 model by mid 1986, probably shortly after the pictures were taken. I have heard rumours that he played the instrument twice in concert, at least once with the tape over the “Guild” logo, as he was so dissatisfied with the instrument. The T-250’s took up directly after the T-200’s in serial number sequesnce, so an exact number produced is difficult to ascertain. The sum total for the two models is 123 for 1986, and there are at least 24 of the T-200’s, but probably not many more than that.
Others say that the above story is wrong and that the story applies to:
Bill Lawrence (www.billlawrence.com), who in 1985 – or somewhere around the mid eighties – made a artist model called RBII specially designed for Roy Buchanan. The guitar Bill Lawrence made had ash body, maple on ebony neck and two Bill Lawrence pickups: Black Label T1 and T2.
Other than the ’53(?) tele he always used, he also had the Guild T-200, and a Guild Nightbird, Serial Number BL 100105, with Kent Armstrong pickups, natural maple finish (possibly the first one made with a maple top), gold hardware and a coil tap switch in the tone control. It was the first one made in 1986.
In his last years, Roy effortlessly explored the accended plains with a variety of customized experimental Telecasters. (Wide necks,Thin necks, Triple pick-ups,strange wirings etc..) He even had an axe with the body custom sculptured out of granite! Then there was the Fritz brothers prototype which preceded the Roy Buchanan bluesmaster.